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Wang Yi: Significant Progress Made in Implementing DOC and Pushing Forward Negotiation of COC

On August 3 local time, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said at a press conference in Singapore that the full implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) is a joint commitment made by China and the ten ASEAN countries, and pushing forward the negotiation of the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC) is a part of implementing the DOC. At present, these two missions are being carried out smoothly. Recently, significant progress has been made at the ninth Senior Officials’ Meeting on the Implementation of the DOC and the Joint Working Group Meeting of the COC held in Tianjin. In the implementation of the DOC, both parties agreed to set up as soon as possible three professional technical committees on “navigation safety and search and rescue”, “maritime scientific research and environmental protection”, and “combating maritime cross-border crimes”, so as to promote maritime cooperation between China and the ten ASEAN countries. In the advancement of the COC, progress in five aspects has been made recently. First, all parties agreed that the consultation of the COC has entered a new period of negotiating “important and complex issues”, including sorting out the common elements of the COC frame. Second, both parties agreed on the drawing-up of the Second List of Commonalities of the COC. Third, all parties agreed to organize the Eminent Persons and Experts Group as early as possible to provide intellectual support for the COC negotiation. Fourth, all parties agreed to reach an agreement as early as possible on setting up “a China-ASEAN hotline platform for maritime search and rescue” and “a China-ASEAN senior foreign officials' hotline platform on emergencies”, which will produce direct and positive effects in maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea. Fifth, all parties agreed with China's initiative in principle to discuss the formulation of preventive measures of controlling marine risks before the COC is reached. Wang Yi said that while the consultations of the DOC took as long as ten years, the negotiation of the COC has made much significant progress in less than two years, which is the result of the joint efforts made by China and the ten ASEAN countries and fully embodies the sincerity of China to push forward the COC. We welcome countries outside the region to continue their support for the COC consultations, but do not welcome “pointing fingers” at the negotiation process.

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